Monthly Archives: March 2013

“Cleaning can be such a bore!” says cleaning company

With Spring theoretically approaching, it was nice of the Daily Mail to highlight exactly how all of the stereotypes around spring cleaning are actually entirely accurate:

What a filthy waste of time! Women spend a YEAR AND A HALF of their lives cleaning the house (but men only put in half as long)  

The women of Britain are waging a never-ending war with dirty floors, dust mites, grubby walls and unplumped pillows.

Female folk spend a staggering 12,896 hours during their lifetime tidying up and scrubbing the house, equating to a year and a half, according to new research.

But while the girls are spending, on average, four hours each week ensuring homes are spick and span, the boys admit to spending only half as long – just 6,448 hours in a lifetime.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 March 2013

Poor women, forever tidying up after we sloppy, slobbish men! If this is true, of course, as is ever the PR caveat. Especially given the source of the non-research:

The research by Rug Doctor also found that a third (32 per cent) of the population does the minimum cleaning required at home, with one in six (17 per cent) admitting to hating it altogether cleaning.

Rug Doctor, unsurprisingly, manufacture carpet cleaning machines – so while we all hate doing the little chores around the house, at least we know where to go to get a labour-saving device to help us out, now.

Still, of all of the chores we men (and, apparently, primarily women) do, carpet cleaning is pretty low in importance, right? Wrong!

Paul Fildes, marketing manager at Rug Doctor, said: ‘The survey uncovered some interesting findings about peoples’ perceptions when it comes to cleaning. 

‘While people spend a lot of time scrubbing their toilets and kitchen work surfaces, they may be missing areas that commonly harbour germs, such as door handles, and indeed their carpets which are breeding grounds for dust mites and bacteria if not deep cleaned regularly.’

Alas, it seems the most overlooked part of the cleaning regime – the carpet – is actually one of the most important… and we all owe a great debt to Rug Doctor for the research they carried out to convince us of this very fact.

What’s more, a quick glance at the watermark in the infographics reveals just who Rug Doctor paid to have this survey featured:

That would be PR firm Bright PR, putting paid to any doubt that this is anything more than a cheap PR survey masquerading as news.

“Sleeping in the same bed as someone can be exhausting!” says hotel firm

What’s keeping you awake at night? If you’re anything like me, the answer is stories like those that have been appearing in the Daily Mail and Daily Express of late:

Bickering at bedtime costs us 10 nights of peaceful sleep a year

BICKERING couples lose up to 90 minutes a week of what could have been peaceful sleep time by arguing between the sheets.

Night-time rows flare up around three times a week and over a year could add up to as much as 10 lost eight-hour nights of rest.

Fidgeting, snoring and, ahem, passing wind are just three of the irritations guaranteed to get tempers frayed under the covers according to research by Travelodge. 

Source: Daily Express, 27 February 2013

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Couples lose 90 minutes of sleep a week bickering in bed about snoring, fidgeting and passing wind 

Fidgeting, snoring, passing wind and hogging the duvet – the list of things that couples argue about in bed is endless.

More than a quarter of British couples spend so much time bickering between the sheets that they are losing an average of 90 minutes sleep each week, new research suggests.

The problem is so big that the sleep loss builds up to three full days of missed sleep during a year.

Source: Daily Mail, 27 February 2013

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If that weren’t enough, on top of the article in the Express by Nathan Rao (which I imagine he contributed barely a word to), the paper then went on to double-down, with a follow-up article, cementing the research in the pantheon of PR piffle:

Bedtime battles

A new survey says that many bedrooms are a war zone. So what’s stopping you from having a good night’s sleep?

Bedrooms, we are told by the experts, should be reserved for two things: sleep and having sex. They warn us that the television or laptop can destroy the bedroom’s feng shui, that it should be a place free of distractions, that what couples should aim for is a comfortable love zone where they spend quality time with each other and promote intimacy. 

This is all well and good but let’s get back to the real world. According to research by Travelodge, it emerges that the bedroom is pretty much a war zone such are the night-time rows caused by bedtime behaviour. Whether it’s down to hogging the duvet, watching scary movies or insisting on sharing the mattress space with the family pet, couples lose up to 90 minutes’ sleep a week by bickering about each other’s antisocial habits in the sack. Over a year that’s at least a week’s worth of good kip gone missing. 

Source: Daily Express, 4 March 2013

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By now, dear readers, I can safely assume you’re savvy enough of the Bad PR world to spot the none-too-subtle commissioner of this particular piece of research – hotel group Travelodge.

In fact, locating their press release on their website and then feeding it into Churnalism.com, we discover that Nathan Rao of the Express and Emma Innes of the Daily Mail contributed less than half of the copy to their respective stories, taking the rest directly from Travelodge’s own copy.

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What motive have Travelodge for outlining the battles of bedtime, and the difficulty people have in sharing a bed? While none of the three news articles explain the motivation behind the story, it’s unequivocal in the original press release:

Shakila Ahmed, Travelodge spokeswoman said: “Our research has highlighted that bedtime bickering amongst couples is a growing concern across the UK. In some areas such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool couples are losing a week’s worth of sleep a year which is not good news. Therefore in response to this growing issue, we have created a new luxurious bespoke bed which addresses the number one reason for bed bickering which is fidgeting between the sheets.

“The Travelodge Dreamer which is deemed the Rolls Royce of beds boasts a 925 pocket sprung mattress. Each individual spring is designed to follow the natural contour of an individual’s body in order to provide the correct amount of support and comfort. For a couple, this ensures that each individual is much less affected by the movement of their partner, resulting in a good quality night’s sleep. 

“Also to ensure there is a balanced temperature between the sheets, we have introduced a bounce back 10.5 tog duvet which offers the ideal snuggling cover up whilst sleeping.” 

So, ‘sleeping with someone is tricky unless you have the correct bed’, says hotel firm advertising the range of beds they have available. PR this blatant never fails to amuse me, especially the ease with which it passes into the national press. How do the journalists not see straight through it? Perhaps Nathan Rao and Emma Innes are both in need of a good night’s kip…

“The people you work with are disgusting!” says bathroom furniture company

I work in an office, and I’m guessing many of you do too. While there are many challenges to a lifetime shackled to a desk surrounded by your fellow adminmates (point one: my colleague’s Spotify playlist), the threat to your health and sanity extends far beyond the visible spectrum:

Anyone for hot-desking? One third of office workers don’t wash hands after using the loo (and only a third of washers use soap)

With more and more people doing office shift work, job shares and flexible hours, it’s likely most of us have hot-desked at some point in our careers.

In which case the following news will send you straight to Boots for a bumper-pack of anti-bacterial computer wipes.

One third of office workers don’t wash their hands after using the loo, and only a third of people who do wash them actually use soap, according to new research.

Source: Daily Mail, 28 February 2013

Who would have thought that the mouth-breathing moron who sits behind you in Accounts Receivable showering crisp crumbs over their grimy keyboard had poor hygiene? It’s a newsworthy discovery – and one from a highly reputable source, no less:

When asked whether they wash their hands every time they visit the toilet at work, 68 per cent of people polled by ukbathrooms.com said they did, while 32 per cent said no. A very self-controlled four per cent of respondents said they never used the bathrooms in their workplace.

Unsurprisingly, the company explaining to us the importance of good hygiene and a good bathroom regime is… a bathroom furniture sales company. Because, you know, bathrooms are important.

Still, at least ukbathrooms.com are under no illusion as to the importance of their research:

While we don’t attach too much importance to the survey…

That makes two of us, ukbathrooms.com. Now, we only need to convince Daily Mail copy/paste expert Martha De Lacey…

“Sleeping is important!” says programme about the importance of sleep

Something of a rarity on Bad PR today, with an appearance from the Guardian’s sister paper, The Observer:

Sleepless nights with screaming babies can ruin your marriage and your health

A screaming baby or a TV in a child’s room can lead to the parents’ divorce, claims new series

As any parents of a young child who is a problem sleeper will confirm, permanent tiredness and constant irritability can put a huge strain on your relationship. In fact, according to a survey, lack of sleep is a big factor in divorce and separation for a third of couples.

Ahead of a new series on the subject, a poll carried out for Channel 4 suggests the average parent surveyed got fewer than six hours of sleep a night. It also found that three in 10 couples who had split up said sleep deprivation since having their child was a factor in the breakup. Nearly 45% said they had dozed off in a place they shouldn’t have or was unsafe, with one in 20 admitting to falling asleep at the wheel of their car.

Source: The Observer, 17 March 2013

The Observer wasn’t alone in running the story, of course – the Daily Mail couldn’t pass up such a gilt-edged opportunity to fill more space in their newspaper and on their website:

Sleepless nights caused by crying babies ends one in three marriages, research claims 

Sleepless nights caused by a crying baby are blamed by  parents for the breakdown of up to a third of relationships, research shows.

Parents with a young child get about six hours sleep a night, an hour less than is recommended.

Experts also say that adults need at least five hours’ uninterrupted sleep to be able to function and concentrate properly the next day.

A survey of 2,000 parents found that 30 per cent of those who had divorced or separated blamed sleepless or interrupted nights caused by their children.

Source: Daily Mail, 17 March 2013

This particular story is a little thorny and a little tricky to unpick. For one, the Observer article (if not the Mail) makes it clear up front that this research came from the TV show ‘Bedtime Live’ – in fact it was release specifically to promote the show.

Another complication is the involvement of respected researcher Dr Tanya Byron, who appears to do robust work. Perhaps, then, this isn’t simply a case of spurious researched being used to prop up the advertising for a TV show? Perhaps this is legit? 

You’d certainly be forgiven for thinking so, however I’m not sure things are so clear and above-board – for instance, note the quotes from Dr Byron supporting the findings:

‘I see people whose children have chronic sleep problems and they’ll say things like their children get really upset if they try to send them to bed.

‘Well, I promise you, they won’t hate you in the morning when they’ve had a proper rest.

‘Our generation struggles  with discipline much more than any other, but the lack of boundaries will only cause more and more difficulties.

‘From a clinical perspective, a lot of those I see in my own  clinics, predominantly children, have underlying issues with not getting enough sleep, even if that isn’t the problem they are presenting with.

As you’ll see, this says nothing at all about the headlien claim that researchers discovered how sleepless nights lead to divorce – this, clearly, is a quote from Dr Byron on her participation in the show. 

Instead, the ‘research’ which uncovered this startling fact was an online poll conducted, I believe, via Bad PR regulars OnePoll – I certainly took part in a very similar survey on their site recently. If so, I’d consider the headline-grabbing statistic that marriages are ending over sleepless nights and crying babies to be highly suspicious.

What’s more, if I were Dr Byron, I might want to have a word with the show’s producers, to make sure future press releases made it very clear which claims came from the academic and which from the PR machine.

“If you don’t wash those dishes you’ll die alone!” says cleaning firm

Bad news for anyone who leaves it a few days between doing the washing up: The Daily Express says you’ll die alone:

Tidy your home or be alone

A DIRTY home could leave you very lonely – as it can ruin your social life and your love life too, a survey has found.

Two-thirds of single people said they would shelve a second date with someone who is happy to live in filth.

Three-quarters of Britons would avoid eating at a friend’s house if the kitchen was dirty, and a third would not let their children play in a messy house.

An unhygienic home could even make you a laughing stock – with nearly a half of men and more than a third of women admitting they have gossiped about the state of a pal’s place.

Source: Daily Express, 15 March 2013

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That’s the bad news. The good news, luckily, is that this isn’t a real piece of research about the world – it’s an advert for a cleaning firm:

Pam Bader, boss of domestic cleaning firm Molly Maid which carried out the survey, said: “Even if someone has a fantastic career, amazing personality or a nice smile, a dirty house is a massive no-no.”

Unsurprisingly, the story originated from a press release put out by Molly Maid, designed to convince people that having a cleaner is not just a luxury, but a vital piece in the not-dying-alone jigsaw modern life has become.

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“Don’t you wish you had a body like a celebrity?” asks gym chain

Ever on the edge of a scoop, the Daily Mail broke the sensational news lately that people tend to find famous people attractive:

It’s all in the abs! Women want their man to have a David Beckham six pack while men prefer Rihanna’s taut tummy to Kelly Brook’s curvy bottom

When looking for the perfect partner both sexes put a ripped six pack at the top of their checklist, a survey reveals.

For women, a man with a washboard stomach is at the top of their wish list (25 per cent) followed by muscular arms (23 per cent) and defined pecs (11 per cent).

A third (33 per cent) of men say they find defined abs as the most attractive attribute in a woman followed by a voluptuous bottom (25 per cent) and firm thighs (11 per cent).

Source: Daily Mail, 28 February 2013


Perhaps more accurately, then, it’s not the celebrities we find attractive, but specific and isolated parts of their anatomy – carving up our fellow human beings into cuts of meat in the butcher’s shop window, for the crime of being well-known. 

All of which leads me to ask, what about you? If you were asked (as is the entire point of the article in the Daily Mail) which part of a celebrity you’d like to most have your corresponding anatomy resemble, who and what would you choose?

And more to the point, what are you willing to do to achieve it? This, it trasnpires, is a key question – especially given the source of the story:

John Treharne, CEO of The Gym Group who conducted the survey, says: ‘It’s a real joy to find that our current crop of sporting heroes have encouraged more people to enjoy both watching and taking part in an active lifestyle.

‘Our expert trainers are available to help people work towards a toned, healthy body shape. Exercise is the key to achieving a strong, healthy body. 

The angle is clear, then – if you really want that celebrity body, you’d better work for it, and where better to work for it than in a The Gym Group gym.

“Gadgets are an important part of childrens’ lives! says gadget retailer

Times have changed since this Bad PR blogger was a wee lad, as was aptly demonstrated in the Telegraph and Daily Mail recently:

Parents punish naughty children by taking away their iPads – survey

Once naughty children would be sent to bed without any supper, but now parents have turned to confiscating their iPads and smartphones to punish them.

Eight out of ten parents with children aged 14 or under say restricting their offspring’s use of gadgets is their preferred form of discipline, a survey found.

Youngsters saw having their tablets and phones taken away as the worst method of punishment because it stopped them from communicating with their friends.

Source: The Telegraph, 12 March 2013

Technology tantrums: Dramatic rise in the number of ‘iPaddys’ when children are sent to bed without their favourite gadgets

It used to be straight to bed without supper for boys and girls who misbehaved.

But with many children now firmly attached to their electronic gadgets, parents are opting to punish them by confiscating their iPads, smartphones and portable games consoles instead.

The only problem is that more than half said their offspring have thrown a tantrum – which some refer to as ‘an iPaddy’ – after their devices are taken away from them.

Source: Daily Mail, 12 March 2013

It’s worth highlighting of course that when the Mail talks of some people referring to a technology-deprived tantrum as an iPaddy, those some people are specifically the PR people who invented this term on behalf of technology retailer Pixmania:

Even toddlers are becoming fans of cutting-edge technology, with one in ten children under four using a tablet…

…Ghadi Hobeika, marketing director of Pixmania, said there had been a “steady rise” in children being bought their own hi-tech devices, leading to new family tensions.

He said: “Gadgets such as tablets and smartphones provide both a method of communication and a form of entertainment, so when parents remove them, this becomes a double whammy.”

Or, in other words, ‘gadgets are really useful and important for children and all the other kids have them’. Rather than being a sobering warning of how children these days are hard to control, these articles are in fact a reminder to parents of the plethora of technological gadgets out there, and where they can get their hands on such a product.

Sent via your baby sister’s iPad.

“Women spend a long time putting on make-up!” says cosmetic surgeon selling semi-permanent make-up

Coming straight out of the ‘small numbers add up to large numbers’ file, the Sun and Daily Mail both noticed how much time women like to spend making themselves look pretty:

Women take a year to get ready

WOMEN spend a year and three months of their lives putting on make-up.

A survey into female beauty regimes shows they spend an average of 474 days putting on cosmetics.

Most time — a quarter — is spent on the eyes.

Source: The Sun, 21 February 2013

That’s a LOT of slap! Women spend a year and three months of their lives applying make-up

It’s been said women take a lifetime getting ready and it has now been revealed the average British woman will spend over a year of her life putting on her make-up.

A new survey into women’s daily beauty regimes shows UK women spend a colossal 474 days – one year and three months – in their lifetime putting on cosmetics, the equivalent of over a whole week every year.

Source: Daily Mail, 20 February 2013

Quite a startling statistic indeed – that women spending some time on their make up adds up to a lot of time over a long period of time. If this proves true, which is no guarantee – this is an online opinion poll, after all. Specifically, it’s an online opinion poll created by…

The Specialist Make-up Services poll found 93 per cent ALWAYS used slap on a night out and half had to have it on for work.

Specialist Make-up Services are the leading practitioners in semi-permanent micro-pigmentation treatments that add depth and definition to the eyebrows, eyes and lips.

Which almost makes it sound like this make-up company commissioned a poll designed to find that women waste a huge amount of their lives putting on make-up, with the expressed intention to convince people that semi-permanent make-up is a perfect time-saving solution. Or, as explained by The Sun:

The firm’s Debra Robson said: “Semi-permanent make-up saves time.”

“Men’s underwear is important and newsworthy!” says retailers of men’s underwear

What’s the best way to track the performance of the economy? Is it to check the value of your house? Or perhaps the performance of your savings accounts? Or maybe it’s to see exactly how close to death you’ll need to get before you can retire?

According to the Daily Mail, it’s none of the above – the correct way to monitor the performance of the economy is to see what underwear the man in your life is wearing:

The Underwear Index: Soaring sales of colourful men’s briefs could mean the economy is on the upturn

You’ve heard of the hemline index – where the length of women’s skirts rises or falls according to the economic climate. 

But now experts have pinpointed another marker of economic bouyancy – and it’s all down to sales of men’s pants. 

Fashion observers at UK underwear and swimwear site deadgoodundies.com have found that men buy more colourful underwear when the economy is booming, but return to their failsafe white, black and grey when there is a downturn.

Source: Daily Mail, 7 February 2013

Yes, according to retailers of men’s underwear, men’s underwear is hugely important and worthy of our attention. 

‘Believe it or not, over the past few years men’s branded underwear collections have become increasingly colourful, more so than women’s, in fact,’ Jane Garner, co-founder of Deadgoodundies.com told mnn.com. 

‘Men have a huge choice in terms of plain colours and patterns this season, and I’m not just talking about quirky kiddie prints, which were all the rage a few years ago.’

Well, Jane, if it’s all the same to you, I’ll choose not to believe it – but well done on getting your nonsense PR into the national media. If nothing else, it’s refreshing to see the Daily Mail run an underwear story where it’s men that are being exploited for their body for a change – if we’re going to objectify, then at least we can do it without discrimination…

“Women NEED to wear make up at all times!” says cosmetic surgeon selling semi-permanent make-up

Never let it be said the media doesn’t go out of its way to remind women just how unattractive they are, naturally – with the latest to hammer home this message being the Daily Express and Daily Mail:

Cover-up by girls in love

MOST women apparently wait at least a month before letting a new lover see them without make-up.

And more than a third have got out of bed and secretly applied it before their man wakes up, according to a survey. 

Another trick 60 per cent use is simply not to take their make-up off when they sleep with a new boyfriend.

Source: Daily Express, 12 March 2013

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While the Daily Express squeezed a meagre six short paragraphs out of the idea that women use the definitely-important tool of make-up to hide their true face from the world, the Daily Mail went to town, employing two journalists to craft seventeen paragraphs of copy:

When would you let a new boyfriend see you without make-up? 80% of women wait an entire MONTH before daring to bare

Sorry to disappoint you chaps, but if one of the things you love most about your new girlfriend is her flawless skin, then you might be in for a surprise.

Because if you’ve been dating her for less than a month, chances are you’ve never actually seen her without make-up.

Eighty per cent of women wait at least that long before letting their new man see them make-up free, a survey found. 

And it seems that women will go to extreme lengths to impress with more than a third of women deliberately getting up before their new boyfriend to secretly apply make-up before he wakes up because they do not dare to go bare in the first flushes of love.

Source: Daily Mail, 12 March 2013

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And, of course, by ‘craft’ I mean they employed two journalists to take a look at a pre-written press release and adapt it for publication, as we can see by analysing the original release:

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Given that this story expounds the absolute necessity of a woman wearing her make-up during those first few weeks and months of courtship, who can we thank for placing this story into the press, and impressing upon us the importance of a made-up face?

Debra Robson, whose semipermanent cosmetics company polled more than 500 women, said: “Make-up makes you feel sexier and more confi dent. 

“I love the idea of us girls waking up early to secretly put on make-up to keep up appearances from the previous night. 

“We all want to look our best in the early throws of romance and women feel they look a lot better and more desirable with make-up.”

That would be Debra Robson – a lady who sells permanent and semi-permanent make-up services – telling women that it’s vital they wear make up at all times. Or, ‘permanently’, as you might want to term it.

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You couldn’t… make it up.